“Do what you love and love what you do” was the message from small business champion Holly Tucker MBE, who was the keynote speaker at Top Drawer a few days ago. Holly brought her own blend of colour and passion to the RetailFest stage during an informal, inspiring and powerful conversation with life coach Tiwalola Ogunlesi, founder of Confident and Killing It.
Speaking to a packed audience, Holly looked backwards and forwards at her career, which has taken her from a job in advertising at the age of 17, to making Christmas wreaths and running local craft fairs for small businesses (having had a brain tumour and a divorce by the age of 23).
With local fairs too reliant on the weather, she decided to give small businesses a different ‘roof’, and, together with her former advertising boss Sophie Cornish, the two women launched Notonthehighstreet.com in 2005, with Holly founding Holly & Co. four years ago, as a home of small business advice and inspiration.
“A true entrepreneur can be squashed by life, but then gets up and carries on. Entrepreneurs have the power to really change things,” stated Holly, who is believed to have inspired some 100,000 entrepreneurs.”
Speaking about the challenges of the pandemic, she replied: “it was unbelievable how much everyone learned. For some it was a terrible time, for others it was Christmas, But, we all learned something from it. Overall, small business owners said that they would do whatever it takes. A lot of them felt a maternal instinct to their business, treating it like another child and wanting to protect it.”
Top: Holly Tucker in full flow at Top Drawer.